Scholar, curator named Canada Research Chair

Sarah Smith is a professor in the Faculty of Information and Media Studies (submitted photo)

Western professor Sarah Smith has been named new Canada Research Chair (CRC) in Art, Culture and Global Relations (Tier 2), part of a new round of investments announced today by the Government of Canada totaling more than $151 million.

Smith’s research will focus on cultural diplomacy, examining how art, exhibitions, museums, and other forms of culture facilitate relationships among those who work in the arts, including artists, cultural workers and arts administrators.

"Through this work I hope to expand the traditionally narrow understanding of cultural diplomacy that has historically focused on dominant political actors," Smith said.

Smith, who joined Western from Carleton University last fall, is a professor in the Faculty of Information and Media Studies (FIMS) and is affiliated with Western’s Centre for Sustainable Curating , a teaching and research hub focused on environmental and social justice and developing exhibitions and artworks with low carbon footprints.

A founding member of the North American Cultural Diplomacy Initiative (NACDI) and a fellow of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute , Smith was the Fulbright Visiting Chair in Public Diplomacy at the University of Southern California in 2015. She held a postdoctoral fellowship with the Transnational Studies Initiative at Harvard University’s Weatherhead Center for International Affairs from 2014 to 2016, and a Banting postdoctoral fellowship in the department of English and film studies at the University of Alberta in 2016.

"The CRC support will help facilitate training and mentoring opportunities for a number of students, and I am really looking forward to working with undergraduate and graduate students in FIMS, as well as students in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities in programs such as studio art, art history, and history," Smith said.

Frank Beier renewed as CRC

In addition to Smith’s new CRC appointment, also announced today was Western professor Frank Beier’s renewal as Canada Research Chair in Musculoskeletal Research (Tier 1). Beier is chair of the department of physiology and pharmacology in the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, and member of Western’s Bone and Joint Institute. His research lab focuses on skeletal physiology, cartilage biology, bone development and osteoarthritis.

An established international leader in research on mechanisms driving progression of osteoarthritis (OA), Beier is now aim­­­­­ing to build on earlier studies with three research themes: studying the role of selected pathways in different types of OA in various joint tissues; exploring the links between OA and comorbidities such as Alzheimer’s and metabolic diseases; and optimizing therapeutic approaches for OA treatment.

The Canada Research Chair (CRC) program is designed to attract and retain some of the world’s most accomplished and promising minds in engineering, natural sciences, health sciences, humanities and social sciences.

The CRC program is supported by participating universities and funded through three federal funding agencies: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council  (SSHRC), the  Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council  (NSERC), and the  Canadian Institutes of Health Research  (CIHR). There are two levels to the CRC program: Tier 1 chairs (seven-year term) are recognized by their peers as world leaders in their respective fields, while Tier 2 chairs (five-year term) are recognized as emerging leaders in their research areas.

Currently, Western is home to 61 Canada Research Chairs.

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